Humanware Explore 7 Electronic Magnifier Review

Humanware Explore 7 electronic magnifier

My verdict… The Humanware Explore 7 electronic magnifier is:

  • a great quality product by a reputable brand,
  • suitable for people with mild to moderate vision loss,
  • who want a large screen for easier reading,
  • with portability.

It is NOT suitable for:

Humanware Explore 7 electronic magnifier on small print newspaper

Buy Humanware explore digital magnifier from AmazonDetailed Review

The Explore 7 is a digital magnifier that has a magnification range from 2.3X-19X. As an electronic magnifier, it is a huge step above using a magnifying glass with light, as it displays magnified content on a big screen. Standard magnifying glasses of a comparable magnification (20X) are very, very small in comparison – probably about 1″ in diameter of usable lens in a circular shape. The Explore 7, however, provides a very large, rectangular 7″ screen. This makes reading much easier as you can see more words on the screen at once. Then you can better follow the meaning of a whole sentence as you read it.

Another benefit this magnifier is that you can adjust the color of what you’re reading. The most popular way of doing this is to increase the contrast with very dark black writing on a bright white background. Some people like to reverse the colors, so they’re reading white writing on black background. This works particularly well for people who have issues with glare. There are more than 12 color/contrast combinations available on the Explore 7, and different combinations will suit different users depending on their vision condition. The color you choose can also depend on the color of the writing or object you’re looking at. Do you find it frustrating when a magazine has tried to get fancy with their formatting and has a pale color writing on another color background? With this color changing feature, you can still view this in black and white. Adjust the color selection with the press of a button, and your setting preferences are saved when you power off.

The large tactile buttons are easy for visually impaired people to feel and easy to learn to use. Thankfully, it doesn’t have too many buttons, so it doesn’t confuse older people who aren’t familiar with technology. When the device is held with two hands, fingers around the back and thumbs at the front, the buttons are easily controlled with your two thumbs. Use your hands to move the device around the page as you read.

A quality product from a quality brand…

This  is a quality product by Humanware – a well-known and long established brand name in the low vision and blindness industry. As well as being made of good materials, there is also quality behind the R&D that goes into these products. This results in products that are easy to use and suits the low vision (often elderly) people who want to use them. Humanware has been around for more than 25 years, so there is a lot of experience behind them, and they have a good reputation to uphold. Their R&D and the production of the equipment happens in Canada.

Quality is an important factor to consider when you buy an electronic magnifier. On paper it may seem that two magnifiers are equal based on their specifications alone, but when you actually use them, it is obvious that there is a difference. The better quality products, such as this one, have a better quality image on the screen. This is particularly important for those users who have trouble with their vision at the best of times!! Some cheaper models have visual distortion in the screen, such as blurriness around the edges, which just makes matters worse. This model has a clear, high definition, LCD screen which makes reading magnified small print much easier. The anti-glare feature ensures it can be used well in different lighting conditions.


Humanware has three digital magnifiers in its Explore range. They have a smaller 3″ magnifier, a medium sized 5″ magnifier, and this large  7″ model .

The 7″ screen is a very popular choice, for those who can afford it, as it makes reading much easier when you can see more words on the screen. At the same time, it is still a portable size that can comfortably fit in a bag. The Explore 7 is slightly smaller and lighter than other brands of digital magnifiers with a 7″ size screen.


There is a built in stand which makes the equipment stand upright on your page as you read. This holds it at the right height for it to focus well, and saves you from having to hold it up. It also keeps the screen up at a good, diagonal angle from the page which provides a more ergonomic position for reading. Some cheaper digital magnifiers don’t display the screen up on an angle and just sit flat on the table. With those you have to lean right over them to view correctly which isn’t good for your neck or posture. The Explore 7 provides a comfortable reading position.

One clever feature of this digital magnifier is that it has a distance viewing mode. You can use this to zoom in on things that are further away – such as a product on a high shelf or a street sign.

Another clever feature is the ability to freeze-frame an image. This is useful for taking a temporary image of something like a phone number, then carrying it with you to another room to make the phone call.

There is no handle on the Explore 7 as it would be too big and heavy to hold a magnifier of this size for too long. It you want a model with a handle try the 5″ Explore digital magnifier instead.

You can even plug the Explore into a TV or computer screen via a cable to see the video image taken from the Explore on the TV. This allows you to magnify what you’re reading even more as you can look at it on a much bigger screen.

The device is powered by a built in, rechargeable, lithium battery, which is charged by plugging it into mains power. It takes 4-5 hours to fully recharge. The battery is long-lasting and provides 3-4 hours of continuous use. Usually, though, people are using equipment for small tasks, rather than for several hours at a time. So the battery life is usually more than enough. It is helped by a power saving feature which automatically switches it off after 3 minutes of inactivity.

It comes with a cleaning cloth and a sturdy case to protect it when you’re on the go.

Weight: < 440g
Dimension: 195mm x 139.5mm x 25mm

This product is available to buy online from Amazon with FREE delivery.Buy Humanware explore 7 video magnifier from Amazon


The Humanware Explore 7 electronic magnifier is a great quality product by a reputable brand. It is suitable for people with mild to moderate vision loss who want a large screen for easier reading and also have portability.






Electronic magnifying glasses vs electronic magnifiers

Digital magnifier with large font

When people come to me asking about electronic magnifying glasses they usually mean one of two things:

  1. A battery operated magnifying glass with light; or
  2. An electronic magnifier.

While both these products are used to help people with low vision to read, there are big differences between the two categories. So I’d like to explain how they compare.

Battery operated magnifying glasses

Battery operated magnifying glass with set of 3 lensesThese look and feel like ordinary magnifying glasses. They magnify an image by using a concave piece of glass or perspex which distorts light to make the viewed object look bigger.

Battery operated ones are one step better than regular magnifying glasses, however, because they have a light source built into them. This means that as you hold the magnifying glass over your reading material the magnifier itself shines a bright light on what you’re looking at. This makes the effect of the magnification much clearer.

The built in light reduces or eliminates the need for extra lamps or lighting in the room when you’re reading. This is very handy as you don’t have to keep moving around to find a good light source.

For example, lets say you picked up a packet of food in your pantry and want to read its label. If you didn’t have a magnifying glass with light in it you would have to carry that packet of food over to a brighter area of your kitchen such as near a window or lamp.

Battery operated magnifying glasses are fairly economical. They range between about $5 and $100 depending on the quality, size, material, brand, strength etc.

The effective strength of these magnifying glasses ranges between 1.5x and about 20x. This is suitable for people with mild vision loss. They won’t be strong enough for people with moderate to severe vision loss, such as those with advanced macular degeneration or glaucoma.

If this suits your needs then you can find my recommended models of lighted magnifying glasses on this page.


Electronic magnifier

Humanware handheld electronic magnifier on stand reading small print in newspaperElectronic magnifiers are a lot more powerful than battery operated magnifying glasses. They don’t just use glass to distort light – they use a combination of video and software to enhance the image to a much greater extent. This allows the magnification to be much higher – up to 80x on some models. Therefore this is what would be required by someone with moderate vision loss or a more severe vision impairment.

These magnifiers also have other special features, such as being able to increase the contrast, change the colors, and magnify distance viewing. Some models can even read aloud printed material.

Many people assume because these use electronics they must be confusing – like using a computer or mobile tablet – but that’s not the case. This equipment is designed for elderly people with low vision to use, so they are quite straight forward with just a few buttons on them that are big and tactile.

Electronic magnifiers are also known as digital magnifiers, video magnifiers or low vision cctvs.

They come in different sizes – from handheld versions to big 24″ screens that sit on a desk or table.

One of the biggest differences is the price. These range from a couple of hundred dollars for the cheapest electronic magnifier to a few thousand for the best electronic magnifier with speech. While the price is much higher than the magnifying glasses, there isn’t really a fair comparison, because the 2 categories are for different groups of people. The former is for mild vision loss and the latter is for moderate vision loss. People with moderate vision loss are usually very happy that they spent the money to buy an electronic magnifier because it gives them back some of their independence by allowing them to read again.

If this is what you’re after then you can find my recommended models of electronic magnifiers on this page.